MONTREAL -- In an effort to draw Montrealers outdoors, the city is setting up "winter resorts" in 17 boroughs in time for the holidays, Mayor Valerie Plante announced on Thursday. 

The installations will include outdoor furniture, coloured lights and aim to brighten up the public spaces they inhabit -- whether that's a public square, park, or parking lot. 

The goal? To encourage Montrealers to visit main arteries in the city, in hopes that they'll support local businesses struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"I doubt that people will sit there for hours, because it's winter, but we want it to be fun and enjoyable," Plante said of the resorts. 

With a $600,000 price tag, the stations were designed by local architects and designers who are with the city's design bureau. 

"In addition to the winter resorts, the population will be able to enjoy many Christmas markets all over Montreal," Plante said. "There will be something for everyone and we strongly encourage Montrealers to visit their shopping streets for their holiday shopping." 

In addition to measures to draw crowds to downtown arteries, the city has also come up with a sports program that will allow Montrealers to "stretch their legs and get some fresh air" this winter season. 

Plante said all the major parks in the city will offer trails for cross-country skiing, hiking, and snowshoeing, and outdoor rinks will be available in several boroughs. 

“A great way to bring some happiness into our lives during the winter is to make sports a part of our routine," Plante said. "Thanks to our large parks, Montrealers will be able to practice winter sports all over the island."

People will be able to reserve rental equipment online for Park Jean-Drapeau and other parks in the city's network -- and equipment will be free for those under 18. 

Over the past month, the city also announced that downtown parking will be free for certain periods of time until the new year.